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Tis the Season
I'm not even half way done writing all of these Christmas cards, and my writing hand is a gnarled husk. This season it appears that I'm giving the Gift of Repetitive Stress Injury.

This all started last year when I got fed up even more than usual by the stress and materialism of Christmas--- totally aside from how the Shopping Task totally ruins the holidays for me, when you get to the point where you're exchanging the SKU numbers of items that you want with your family members, it's time to admit that there's something wrong with the process.

So last year and again this year, I added up all of the money I would have spent on gifts and donated it all to a charity instead. (Which is a frightening sum, when I bother to add it up.) Last year it was Direct Relief International, a very cool medical supply organization based out of Santa Barbara. (This year it was the AFSP for a few different personal reasons, but it probably will be DRI again next year.)

But lest you claim that the charity lump sum is a cop-out, I hand write all of the Christmas cards, so that I at least take some time to think about each member of my family. Considering that I barely even remember how to use a pen and paper anymore, it's pretty brutal on my wrist.

But it still beats the hell out of shopping.

PS: Shopping for a charity? I got a lot of mileage out of www.charitynavigator.com; it's very interesting to see how much the executives make, and how much money is spent on real work versus self-marketing. It's worth looking up your favorite charities on there, their spending behavior might surprise you.
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